Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Maritime Lawyers and What You Need to Know


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The past few months have seen remarkable volatility in terms of the American economy and especially in the energy industry. While oil and gas prices have fallen recently, one only needs to look back to this past summer?s record-high prices to recall the energy debate in this country and its importance with respect to national security. Suffice to say, finding new sources and increasing offshore domestic oil and gas production will be a major focus of the debate in years to come. Fortunately, American maritime workers have strong sources of protection against foreign vessels taking over their jobs and in securing their future from injuries incurred on the job: the Maritime Jones Act and maritime lawyers.

So what exactly is the Jones Act and how does it protect the American worker? Enacted almost 90 years ago, the Jones Act mandates that all vessels that are involved in domestic transportation must be built, owned and crewed by Americans. In addition, the Act protects workers on all sorts of vessels ? whether they are on or offshore ? and on oil rigs in case of injury. In other words, the Act is one of the bedrocks of legal rights for maritime workers in the United States.

While the Act may seem obscure to some, especially to college students, it is very necessary in these uncertain economic times. Maritime workers have dangerous jobs working constantly with heavy machinery and often on the high seas, and the Act provides for them to be financially compensated if they are injured on the job through some form of negligence. With a faltering economy, it is imperative that maritime workers understand their legal rights. Should you know maritime workers injured during the course of their work, you may want to have them contact a maritime lawyer, who can help with the financial aspect of their respective injury.

How does one determine whether a certain attorney is the best to be looking out for their interests? When searching for a maritime lawyer, talk with friends and family, use the Web to conduct further research, and ask maritime lawyers to provide references of past cases and clients. Most importantly, you need to feel comfortable when speaking with the attorney.

As new offshore areas are opened up to oil drilling in the coming years and domestic oil production becomes more necessary for national security reasons, there will be an increased need for solid American maritime workers to do the necessary heavy work to help get the nation?s economy rolling again. With increased work comes the increased chance for injury, and maritime workers need to be assured, whether through a maritime lawsuit or from speaking to an attorney, that they and their families are protected in any worst-case scenario. Speaking with a maritime lawyer about worker related injuries or just to understand rights under the Jones Act, can make it easier for workers and their families to know exactly how they are protected.

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